As we prepare to ring in the new year, we thought we’d take this opportunity to look back on the Web features that POV viewers liked most and to create a year-end list of our own. In 2008, the most popular features on the POV website were the ones that followed the characters featured in the films or delved deeper into the issues that the films raised.

1. Up the Yangtze – Film update
Up the Yangtze is both a broad look at contemporary China and the massive Three Gorges Dam, and a moving story that hones in on the lives of two young people who work on a luxury cruise ship that tours the Yangtze Valley. Sixteen-year-old “Cindy” Yu Shui, the shy daughter of an illiterate farmer and 19-year-old “Jerry” Chen Bo Yu, a savvy city boy, captured our hearts and curiosities. After seeing the film, viewers were eager to hear about what has happened to the two characters since production ended and flocked to the website for more information. Filmmaker Yung Chang provided us with a video of his visit to Yu Shui’s new home in the Film Update feature for Up the Yangtze, and shared some of the emails she’d sent to him. He also told viewers how they can help the Yu family.

2. Inheritance – Video: Beyond the Film with James, Monika and Helen
Inheritance might have been the last film of POV’s 21st season, but the features on its companion website were among the most popular of the year, taking up two of the top spots on our list. Viewers were fascinated by the meeting between Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth, and Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Goeth during the Holocaust depicted in the film. When Monika and Helen came together again on December 1, 2008 at a special screening of Inheritance, POV captured their conversation with filmmaker James Moll and their responses to viewer questions.

3. Inheritance – A Daughter’s Point of View
Another popular feature from the Inheritance website was our Q&A with Vivian Delman, Holocaust survivor Helen Jonas’ daughter who also appeared in the film. Vivian had accompanied Helen on her journey back to the Plaszow concentration camp, where they met Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Nazi commandant Amon Goeth. Vivian talked about growing up as the child of a survivor and what the journey to Plaszow was like for her. She says, “Soon, most of the Holocaust survivors will not be around to tell their story, so it is the responsibility of the second and third generations to continue this journey.”

4. Election Day – Lesson Plan
The U.S. presidential election dominated the media this year, so it’s no surprise that teachers flocked to POV’s Election Day lesson plan. Election Day, shot throughout the day of the presidential election in 2004, showcased the experiences of real voters all over the country and revealed problems of access and disparity in polling places around America. The accompanying lesson plan focused on how to improve elections.

5. Critical Condition – Basic Facts about the Uninsured
An estimated 47 million people in America are living without health insurance. Critical Condition puts a human face on that statistic by showing the struggles of four ill Americans. After watching the film, viewers were interested in learning more about the health care crisis in America and reading up on why so many Americans are uninsured, whether a national health care plan is a possibility and what current legislation address these issues.

What were your favorite features on our site this year? If you have any suggestions about what you’d like to see more of on our site in the future, please share your thoughts with us here in the comments.

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Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.